Broward News

In Deerfield Beach, a Ninja Strikes

Last night the Deerfield Beach City Commission conducted a seminar on how not to deal with a buzzing gadfly. Chaz Stevens was deprived his chance to address the commission (by video), he inspired his nemesis Vice Mayor Sylvia Poitier to climb down from the dais to address the commission as a member of the public and by meeting's end earned the ultimate reward: being placed on the agenda as a matter of city business.

Stevens had threatened on his blog to make a personal appearance, but when it came time for his public comment slot, he had a spokesman -- well, technically, "the official ninja for Acts of Sedition," Jim Jaikong. The ninja, who eschewed the jumpsuit and mask for street clothes, passed out T-shirts and then asked a city staffer to queue up a DVD. But before anyone could press play, Mayor Peggy Noland asked commissioners whether they'd make a motion to not watch it. "I don't know what's on this tape," said Noland in a panicked voice. "If anyone in the audience goes to the web, (Stevens' site) goes to porno."

To which Jaikong said, "As a ninja, I would not show pornography."

But other speakers had made multimedia presentations before and City Attorney Andrew Maurodis warned commissioners that denying such a video "can't be content-based," as it clearly was here. They finally concluded that henceforth video presentations would have to be viewed by city staff before being allowed at meetings.

Shortly thereafter, Poitier herself appeared at the podium, apparently to launch a tirade at Stevens. "I have been advised not to say anything..." she began, before Noland interrupted to ask Poitier to save the remarks for meeting's end.

"Oh my goodness," complained Poitier, moving wearily back to her place on the dais. "I want to straighten him out," she said, of Stevens. "I want to get him off me. I don't want my constituents afraid of me. I'm here to serve and I'm going to serve them."

Your Juice correspondent's video feed had some hiccups, and since the video hasn't been archived on the city's site, we can't confirm Stevens' triumphant report of having been made an agenda item. We'll update this when we do.

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Thomas Francis